Charles I - Lord Byron - Noam Chomsky - Abraham Lincoln - Robert Frost - Plato - Baruch Spinoza - M R Jessel & re Caunchey 1876 - Robins J A & Malette v Shulman 1990 - Goff L J & Sidaway v Governors of Bethlem Hospital 1985 - I Kennedy & A Grubb - J Fleming - Lord Fraser & Gillick v West Norfolk 1986 - Eleanor Roosevelt - R Gillon - Adam Curtis TV - Louis Theroux TV -
You manifestly wrong even the poorest ploughman, if you demand not his free consent. Charles I, declining judgment of High Court
A little still she shrove, and much repented,
And whispering ‘I will ne'er consent’ – consented. Lord Byron, Don Juan
Well the title [Manufacturing Consent] is actually borrowed from a book by Walter Lippmann, written back around 1921, in which he described what he called ‘The Manufacturing of Consent’ as a revolution in the practice of democracy. What it amounts to is a technique of control, and he said this was useful and necessary because the common interests – the general concerns of all people – elude the public; the public just isn’t up to dealing with them, and they have to be the domain of what he called a specialised class ...
There’s a version of this expressed by the highly respected moralist and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr [see Moral Man and Immoral Society], who was very influential on contemporary policy makers. His view was that rationality belongs to the cool observer. But because of the stupidity of the average man, he follows not reason but faith. And this naive faith requires necessary illusion and emotionally potent over simplification which are provided by the myth-maker to keep a person on course. Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle, the sheet-anchor of American republicanism ... Now the relation of master and slave is pro tanto a total violation of this principle. The master not only governs the slave without his consent, but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only, is self-government. Abraham Lincoln, speech Peoria Illinois
The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination. Robert Frost
Your silence gives consent. Plato
He alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason. Baruch Spinoza
You cannot consent to a thing unless you have knowledge of it. M R Jessel, ex parte Ford re Cauchey (1876) LR1CD528
The right of a person to control his or her body is a concept that has long been recognised at common law. Robins J A, Malette v Shulman (1990) 67 DLR (4th) 321 (Ont CA)
The right of self-determination ... obviously encompasses the right to refuse medical treatment. A competent adult is generally entitled to reject a specific treatment or all treatment ... If a doctor were to proceed in the face of a decision to reject the treatment, he would be civilly liable for his unauthorized conduct notwithstanding his justifiable belief that whatever he did was necessary to preserve the patient's life or health. The doctrine of informed consent is plainly intended to ensure the freedom of individuals to make choices concerning their medical care. ibid.
I start with the fundamental principle, now long established, that every person’s body is inviolate ... in the case of medical treatment, we have to bear well in mind the libertarian principle of self-determination. Goff L J, Sidaway v Governors of Bethlem Hospital  AC 871
A legally valid, or real, consent consists of the following elements: (a) it is given by a competent person; (b) it is given voluntarily; (c) it is an informed consent. I Kennedy & A Grubb, Medical Law (2nd ed)
Even silence and inaction may in some circumstances be interpreted as an expression of willingness. Failure to resist or protest indicates consent if a reasonable person who is aware of the consequences and capable of protest or resistance would voice his objection. J Fleming, Law of Torts
Provided the patient, whether a boy or a girl, is capable of understanding what is proposed, and of expressing his or her own wishes, I see no good reason for holding that he or she lacks the capacity to express them validly and effectively and to authorise the medical man to make the examination or give the treatment he advises. Lord Fraser, Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech AHA  AC 112,  3 ALL ER 402
No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt
The first important point to emerge from this symposium is that information is essential for autonomous and therefore rational decision-making. One cannot reason or deliberate about alternative courses of action if one has no information about them ... patients are likely to make irrational decisions if their doctors gives them inadequate information. R Gillon (1983), 9 Journal of Medical Ethics 131
This is the story of how Sigmund Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind were used by those in power in post-War America to try and control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe that Freud was right to suggest that hidden deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany. Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self II: The Engineering of Consent, BBC 2002
An extraordinary number of mental breakdowns amongst its troops: 49% of all soldiers evacuated from combat were sent back because they suffered from mental problems. It was the first time anyone had paid attention to the feelings and anxieties of ordinary people. ibid.
Psychoanalysts were convinced they not only understood these dangerous forces but they knew how to control them too. They would use their techniques to create democratic individuals because democracy left to itself failed to do this. ibid.
In 1946 President Truman signed the National Mental Health Act. It had been born directly out of the wartime discoveries of psychoanalysts that millions of Americans who had been drafted suffered hidden anxieties and fears. The aim of the Act was to deal with this invisible threat to society. ibid.
Psychoanalysts were about to move into big business and use their techniques not just to create model citizens but model consumers. ibid.
By the early ’50s the ideas of psychoanalysis penetrated deep into American life. The psychoanalysts themselves became rich and powerful. ibid.
And as the psychoanalysts’ ideas took hold in America a new elite began to emerge: in politics, social planning and in business. What linked this elite was the assumption that the masses were fundamentally irrational. ibid.
In reality Arbenz was a democratic socialist with no links to Moscow. Bernays set out to turn him into a communist threat to America. He organised a trip to Guatemala for influential American journalists. Few of them knew anything about the country or its politics … He also created a fake independent news agency in America – the Middle-American Information Bureau. It bombarded the American media with press releases saying that Moscow was planning to use Guatemala as a beach-head to attack America. All of this had the desired effect. But what Bernays was doing was not just trying to blacken the Arbenz regime, he was part of a secret plot. President Eisenhower had agreed that America should topple the Arbenz government. But secretly. The CIA were instructed to organise a coup. ibid.
Bernays had manipulated the American people but he had done so because he like many others at the time believed that the interests of business and the interests of America were indivisible … He called it the Engineering of Consent. ibid.
But the idea that it was necessary to manipulate the inner feelings of the American population in the interests of fighting the Cold War now began to take root in Washington. Above all in the CIA who were going to take it much further. They were concerned that the Soviets were experimenting with psychological methods to actually alter the memories and feelings of people. The aim being to produce more controllable citizens. It was known as brain-washing. Psychologists in the CIA were convinced that really might be possible and that they should try to do it themselves. In the late fifties the CIA poured millions of dollars into the psychology departments across America. They were secretly funding experiments on how to alter and control the inner drives of human beings. ibid.
In fact Cameron’s experiments were a complete disaster. All he managed to produce were dozens of individuals with memory loss, and the ability to repeat the phrase, I am at ease with myself. And it was not an isolated case. Almost all the experiments the CIA funded were equally unsuccessful. Despite their ambitions, American psychologists were beginning to find out how difficult it was to understand and control the inner workings of the human mind. ibid.
High profile figures in American life who had previously been enthusiasts for psychoanalysis now began to question why psychoanalysis had become so powerful in America. Was it really because it benefitted individuals? Or had it in fact become a form of constraint in the interests of social order? ibid.